AP photo

â¿¿ OIL PRICES â¿¿ The price of oil climbed back above $87 a barrel after the announcement of a cease-fire agreement to end a week of fighting between Israel and Hamas militants.

â¿¿ DROUGHT-SEVERITY â¿¿ A new report shows that the nation's worst drought in decades is getting worse again, ending an encouraging five-week run of improving conditions.

â¿¿ CLIMATE CHANGE-TRANSPORTATION â¿¿ The nation's lifelines â¿¿ its roads, airports, railways and transit systems â¿¿ are getting hammered by extreme weather beyond what their builders imagined, leaving states and cities searching for ways to brace for more catastrophes like Superstorm Sandy.

INDUSTRY

GM-ALLY FINANCIAL

DETROIT â¿¿ General Motors' finance arm is buying Ally Financial's loan businesses in Europe, Latin America and part of a joint venture in China for $4.25 billion. GM says having its own finance operations will let it to make low-interest loans and cheap lease deals. The move will help Ally, formerly part of GM, repay a $17.2 billion bailout from the U.S. government during the banking industry meltdown of 2008. By Auto Writer Tom Krisher.

EARNS-DEERE

MINNEAPOLIS â¿¿ Farm and construction gear maker Deere & Co. reports a bigger fourth-quarter profit as it sold more equipment at higher prices, but results still missed analyst expectations. By Business Writer Josh Freed.

AP photos.

â¿¿ RECKITT BENCKISER-SCHIFF NUTRITION â¿¿ Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC signs deal to buy vitamin and nutrition supplement maker Schiff Nutrition International Inc. for $1.4 billion, topping an earlier bid by Bayer AG.

â¿¿ TOYOTA-TRUCK RECALL â¿¿ Toyota is recalling about 150,000 Tacoma midsize pickups because the spare tires can fall from beneath the trucks.

â¿¿ UNITED-7 WTC LAWSUIT â¿¿ United Airlines cannot be held responsible for the hijacking of an American Airlines flight and the collapse of a third World Trade Center building after the twin towers fell in the Sept. 11 attacks, a federal judge rules.

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